Afghan Ministry of Interior rejects Taliban claim of seizing Paktia district – Janikhel

JanikhelAFGHANISTAN: Taliban on Tuesday claimed capturing the Janikhel district of southeastern Paktia province, but the Ministry of Interior (MOI) rejected the assertion as baseless.

Fierce firefights have been ongoing for two days in the district, where the militants claimed capturing some security check-posts late on Monday.

In a statement, the MoI denied the fall of Janikhel, saying heavy clashes were still ongoing in the area. It said security forces had suffered no harm heavy casualties had been inflicted on the fighters.

The provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Toryalai Abdyani, told Pajhwok Afghan News 11 insurgents were killed, three others wounded and a Pakistani militant arrested.

The police chief also rejected the Taliban claim, saying gunbattles were still underway in the district. Each side claimed inflicting heavy casualties on the other.

Abdyani said reinforcements had reached the site and the air force would launch airstrikes soon. Both sides suffered heavy casualties, he said, without exact figures.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Janikhel fell to the fighters on Tuesday morning. The security forces had suffered causalities and weapons had been captured by Taliban, he said, acknowledging the loss of only two fighters.

Located 85 kilometers from Gardez, the provincial capital, the district remained under Taliban’s control for some days last year. -Pajhwok

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